Stress, anxiety, worry can all come from the average day’s work for a leader, but learning how to cope is why they’ve been so successful in their jobs. Everyone who suffers any kind of stress (and I would bet we all do) knows that there has to work/life balance, and sometimes they work so hard they forget about the life part.
Leaders are successful for their ability to find useful ways to relieve and reduce the stress they face in their lives. The following are six ways today’s modern leaders historically deal with stress.
1) Quit stressing over the unavoidable parts of life, like your traffic-muddled commute, for example, and start by making them easier for yourself. Find some way to ease the stress in your life that just aren't avoidable. Most people have spouses, kids, and home-life stressors that can worsen when the stresses at work creep in.
Instead of dwelling on everything, and stressing over things that are inevitable, try simplifying the complications in your life. For example, if we’re using the commute example, a way to calm yourself is to listen to thoughtful podcasts, calming music, or audible books on the drive. This gives you something to focus on other than the honking horns and congested roadways, and can bring a peaceful, calming feeling.
2) Try yoga or meditation. Some of the country’s busiest people like Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff, Arianna Huffington, Bill Ford, and even Oprah Winfrey, choose to meditate often to alleviate the pressure and stress of their lives. It is the ultimate form of relaxation before sleep; that can only be achieved by releasing stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for a more invigorating way to reduce stress, yoga is a powerful workout of the body, mind, and soul.
3) Always make time for fun. Spending time with the ones we love and just doing something fun together consistently, is a great way to not only encourage work/life balance but also to alleviate stress. The world’s greatest leaders make time to be with their families and friends, and enjoy each other’s company. There is true sanity and calm in laughing, relaxing, and having fun.
4) Spend time with your pets. Pets have been proven many times over as little stress relievers in our lives, and some of the most powerful people like President Obama, former President Clinton, and even former President Reagan, spend time with their pets to deal with pressure and stress in their lives.
5) Take power naps. They say that 15 minutes of sleep can give your body the boost it needs to be more productive and creative throughout a work day. Some of the greatest leaders take naps during the day to recharge and repower since they know it has been proven to increase productivity. In fact, leaders like Arianna Huffington encourages not only herself but her entire staff to take naps throughout a workday when they need to. Companies like Google have followed suit and “nap rooms” are no longer uncommon.
6) Remember to disconnect frequently. Our lives are so connected that sometimes the line between work and home life can blend. We still read that bad news email on our mobile phones, then turn family time into stress once again. Disconnecting from your phone could be just the thing to give yourself a true break when it’s time. Unwind, and let your troubles fade away for a while, and then get back at it when you’re fresh.
Stress in the workplace is all too common for any employee. Following in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest leaders by trying these tips is a great way for anyone to become more successful, due to reduced stress.
Sources: “The Daily Habit of These Outrageously Successful People,” by Carolyn Gregoire, The Huffington Post, www.huffingtonpost.com; “How the Busiest People On Earth Find Time to Relax,” by Kate Bratskeir, The Huffington Post, www.huffingtonpost.com.